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Rheumatologic disorders

Rheumatologic Disorders

Rheumatology involves the study and the therapeutic intervention to treat rheumatism, a term that describes all sorts of painful chronic conditions of the joints and connective tissues, known as rheumatologic diseases or rheumatic disorders. Although most facilities that deal with rheumatism usually focus on arthritis, the term can cover more than 200 different conditions.

Major rheumatologic disorders are recognizable due to two main characteristics: chronic pain and unpredictable response to treatment.

Some major rheumatologic conditions have a common cause: the general wear of joints and muscles with aging, which may contribute to a number of medical conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Neck pain
  • Capsulitis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Back pain
  • Bursitis/Tendinitis

Other rheumatologic disorders caused by autoinmmunity (when your own immune system attacks your joints) include:

  • Polymyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Behçet’s disease
  • Reiter’s syndrome
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • juvenile arthritis
  • scleroderma

Most of these conditions are a normal consequence of aging, and usually affect feet, fingers, neck, lower back and knees. Some common symptoms involved in the rheumatic conditions mentioned above are:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Joint instability and muscle weakness
  • Difficulty gripping objects or sitting

Treatment for Rheumatic Diseases

Herbal treatments are traditional remedies widely recommended and a vast number of healing herbs are available on the market. Conventional and alternative medicine in modern times have managed to show that many different causes may lie in the background of different rheumatologic conditions, and have expressed the need for individualised and holistic approach in their treatment.

There are some common points nevertheless: major rheumatic conditions inevitably require analgesics in the earliest stages.

Rest, exercise, and diet are essential treatments, too. Instruction about the proper use of joints, ways to preserve our own energy, pain relief methods, assistive devices are modern approaches. It is often recommended to develop a balance between rest and activity, and to learn to read the body.

Over-the-counter pain medication is a must in the home medicine kit, as well as counterirritants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Other common drugs used to treat rheumatic conditions include:

  • DMARDs or Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
  • Biologic response modifiers
  • Corticoteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid substitutes

Non-medicinal treatments include:

  • Medical devices
    • Spints and braces
    • Assistive devices
  • Therapies
    • Heat and cold
    • Hydrotherapy
    • Mobilization
    • Relaxation

Surgery becomes a medical necessity after injury to repair damage and restore function. The most often performed orthopedic surgical procedures involve:

  • Arthroplasty
  • Osteotomy
  • Bone fusion

Anthroscopic surgery